Thursday, March 15, 2007

Question for the experts ... [resolved?]

I have a research question for anyone who can answer it. This is not for entertainment -- I'm really wanting to find the answer, and can't seem to.

I was reading the work of a Protestant named Edmund Bunny, who was refuting a Jesuit who had remarked that Protestants were weak in the realm of devotional literature (in the 16th century). In response Bunny referred to several Protestant works, including one text he called simply "the Centuries".

To what text does he refer? I'm thinking this might be a collection of official sermons (like say, 100 of them)? I know Bullinger was responsible for the Decades, which was an official collection of sermons for use in the Church of England. But is that the same as the Centuries?

Help! Anyone!

Update (17 March): I think I may have found the answer, though I'm not certain. The ant-Catholic work below by Church of England clergyman and controversialist Andrew Willet has the word "Centvries" in its title (middle of page, on line starting with "DIVIDED ...":


Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has this to say of Willet's work:

A prolific author, Willet published in 1592 the first edition of what became his most famous work, Synopsis papismi. Throughout Willet's career this survey of all the controversies between the protestants and the Church of Rome went through a series of new editions and expansions, which saw it swell from a quarto edition of 600 pages to its posthumous fifth edition of over 1300 folio pages (including a life of the author by Peter Smith), published in 1634. The royal patent for this fifth edition, ‘tendring the good of our loving Subjects in matters of Religion especially’, noted approvingly of Willet's work that ‘it hath beene seene and allowed by … the Reverend Bishops, and hath alsoe ever since byn in greate esteeme in both of our Universities, and also much desired by all the Learned both of our clergy and laity throughout our Dominions’ (Rymer, Foedera, 100–02).

6 comments:

Scribe said...

He might be referring to Thomas Traherne's (1636-1674) "Centuries of Meditation," which was once a quite popular devotional book.

Scribe said...

I forgot to mention that I very much appreciate reading your blog. God bless.

H.C. Ross said...

Thanks much, Scribe! I now remember hearing about Traherne's Centuries ... only I think those would be after the period to which Bunny refers. He made his refutation in 1588 or so, at least 30-40 years before Traherne was born.

It's possible Traherne named his work after the same work to which Bunny refers.

The mystery remains.

Many thanks for the help anyway! Traherne's work is one more I'll put on my list to read when I get time ...

H.C. Ross said...

BTW, I'll add your great blog to our blogroll ASAP!

Scribe said...

Thanks for adding me!

Stephen Walton said...

There was a great multi-volume Lutheran work of church history known as the "Centuries" and produced at Magdeburg- the authors were known as the "centuriators". I think it was basically a defense of the reformation against Trent.

Steve Walton

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